Boehner suggests House will take its time on Internet sales tax
Bernie Becker and Mike Lillis - 05/07/13 12:10 PM ET
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested Tuesday that the online sales tax legislation that easily cleared the Senate this week was not one of the House's top priorities.
Boehner referred reporters at a news conference to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who has expressed concerns about the Senate bill.
“I think they have jurisdiction over this. I've not talked to him about it,” Boehner said. “I don't know what his intent is, in terms of whether he's interested in moving it through his committee or not.”
“I'm for regular order,” Boehner added, when pressed about whether he is personally interested in the bill.
The Senate passed the bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act by a 69 to 27 vote on Monday, with most Democrats — except for five who represent states without a sales tax — backing the bill.
Senate Republicans split roughly down the middle — 21 for, and 22 against — on the proposal. The breakdown underscores that the measure likely faces a rockier path in the GOP-controlled House.
But retail groups and state governments, which could gain more than $20 billion in new revenue each year under the bill, have made the sales tax measure a major priority. Because of that, Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other GOP leaders will find themselves under intense pressure to bring the bill to the floor, according to a leading House Democrat.
“I think the overwhelming number of Democrats are for this bill, I think a large number of Republicans are for this bill,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters shortly after Boehner’s comments. “I think they're going to get a lot of pressure from retail people in their states who are having to compete with online sellers who don't pay tax.”